Facilitators help to fill an impartial role in enabling group become more effective and achieve positive outcomes. It’s an important and often underappreciated skill for UX designers to gain. Conducted by Ng Choon Seng, an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, this workshop equipped participants with understanding, hands-on skills, tools and method to become an effective process facilitator.

The definition of facilitate is “to make easy” or “ease a process.” In the broadest sense, Facilitation is both art and science of making group’s work easier by structuring the process and guiding group members participation. It becomes especially important as organisation embraces Design Thinking, Co-creation and UX practices, where they open the design process not just users but to also a much wider range of stakeholders.

However ideas and outputs don’t just simply happen despite best intentions. Being a good facilitator isn’t the same as knowing how to manage people or run a meeting. It all comes down to understanding the tools–and structure–that help people collaborate. Designers need to become skilled communicators and facilitators, as they lead engagement initiatives with diverse group of stakeholders and bridge communication gaps in design process. A team that has a well-trained design facilitator can come to a drastically different outcome because they understand what it takes to create the right environment for good design to happen, and shape teams and clients towards shared understanding and successful outcomes.

The workshop explained core facilitation practice such as active listening, ask questions and bring neutral stance to encourage participation, keep group on task/purpose and ensure that the group’s objectives and deliverables of the session are met. As such, facilitator must take care of:

  • Outcomes (deliverables of the session)
  • Process (tools and techniques)
  • Time
  • I (neutrality as facilitator)
  • Context (culture and group dynamics)
  • Space (physical and emotive)

They must also be able to set aside their personal views, take a step back from bringing the detailed content, and focus purely on the “group process”. In this way, facilitator could bring shared understanding, get the best ideation from all members and bring the event toward successful decision, solution or conclusion. As such, facilitation is considered to become an increasingly important skill for organizations in order to harness and leverage those ‘diversity of thought’ productively.